Virtual Exhibition

Welcome

Bentall Green Oak are bringing forward proposals to reimagine the site of a tired 1960s office building, drawing on the rich history of the area to introduce a new high-quality commercial development which is an exemplar of sustainability.

The proposals will provide new office space for small and medium-sized businesses in the Corporation of London, and embraces the local area, creating more internal and external public realm and amenity space, and appropriate retail opportunities.

Our proposals will bring forward a number of key benefits, including:

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The story so far

We are grateful to everyone who gave us their thoughts on our emerging proposals for 31 Bury St, London EC3A 5AR during our first phase of consultation earlier in the summer.

Following a review of the feedback, we are now pleased to present our detailed design proposals for the future of the site.

Below is a summary of the feedback we received from our first phase of consultation and how this has helped to shape our proposals:

The majority of responses agreed with the principle of redeveloping the site and our approach to providing smaller floor plates to ensure the City has a diverse supply of high-quality office space.

The delivery of landscaped public realm was a significant benefit that consultees wanted to see brought forward, and this exhibition will provide more detail about how we will be restoring historic spaces and routes that will be landscaped and activated for neighbours and workers to enjoy.

Some responses wanted to see more detailed designs to ensure they could come to a balanced view of the proposals. We are pleased to be able to share more designs and plans in this second round of consultation, having considered the feedback received from the public and officers at the City of London Corporation.

You can let us know what you think about our proposals by answering the questions at the bottom of each page.

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A History of the Area

31 Bury Street lies within Aldgate, a district within the City of London with a long and varied history.

The name Aldgate refers to a large gateway that existed spanning the Roman-built road to Colchester and was used to defend the City of London on a number of occasions. In 1698, the UK’s oldest synagogue, Bevis Marks, was founded within the ward. Today, the wider area is the centre of the UK’s insurance industry.

The area featured a public square known as James’ Court as well as a direct connection from Heneage Lane, before Holland House, adjacent to the development, was built and closed off the area.

Due to its age and design, the current building has a number of problems that cannot be solved through a refurbishment. Even with a full refurbishment, it is not designed to meet the emerging policies for sustainability in the built environment.

Additionally, it cannot respond to emerging concerns from occupiers as a result of the current COVID-19 pandemic including an increased need for outside space and more opportunities to bring fresh air into the building.

The building also fails to provide benefits to the wider community. There is little opportunity for active frontages or meaningful public access, and there is no biodiversity, greening or any other benefits to the local environment.

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Delivering new Public realm and community space

Delivering new public realm and accessible spaces sits at the heart of our proposals for the future of 31 Bury Street.

Our proposals include the re-introduction of the historic James’ Court as a ‘pocket park’ space off Bury Street.

We are also planning an extension to Heneage Lane as a north to south pedestrian route through the site from Bevis Marks to Bury Street, providing additional access routes for the immediate area and reinstating an historic route within the City of London.

The provision of curated flexible retail / restaurant / café space at the ground floor level, together with internal publicly accessible amenity space on the above mezzanine and first floors, will help to activate and animate the site as well as provide important additional amenity for local residents, visitors and workers.

: A key element of our proposals is to provide space that can be used by local organisations and people, including community groups. We are in close dialogue with local community groups to ensure the community space offers unique facilities that can be made available for public and private use; with the design and the materials purposely chosen to respond to local need. In total, the equivalent of 50% of the current building’s floorspace is being provided as publicly accessible space.

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Sustainability and biodiversity

We are committed to delivering one of the most sustainable buildings in the City of London, and this forms the heart of our proposals. Our sustainability objectives concern both the construction and the operation of the building once it is complete. Considering our plan to have a net-zero carbon operation of the building it will be carbon positive, even taking into account construction materials, within ten years.

Our strategy to achieve this includes the use of sustainable materials and punched windows offering natural shade and cooling, to the provision of new urban greening across the site, in exceedance of policy requirements, helping to support local biodiversity.

We are particularly focussed on designing the building to be sustainable and future-proofed, incorporating natural ventilation and insulation to reduce the use of air-conditioning units and heating. In addition to the positive impact to sustainability these features will bring, they additionally respond to concerns about COVID-19 and office working in the future.

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Providing a diverse mix of office space in the City of London

Currently, a significant proportion of modern office buildings in the City provide larger floorplates that are generally suited to large multi-national companies. Recent developments have further decreased the proportion of smaller floorplates, whilst demand for high-quality self contained smaller offices is growing, particularly in light of Covid-19.

From the third floor upwards, we are therefore looking to introduce a more bespoke style of office building, with smaller office floorplates, to support a dynamic mix of business to locate and grow in the City.

In our view, providing modern office space of different sizes is important to ensure businesses have a range of options as they consider their requirements following the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Scale

We have worked closely with officers to design the building at an appropriate scale which is respectful of its location.

Our proposed height would be just under 200 metres including 44 office floors, which allows it to ‘step down’ from the taller buildings in the centre of the Eastern City Cluster towards the surrounding neighbourhoods and more sensitive key views.

As part of our approach to height and massing, we are undertaking a comprehensive daylight / sunlight and overshadowing study which will form part of our planning application.

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Materiality and Design

We have carefully considered the design of the building and proposed materials to feel at home in the neighbourhood, responding to the feance treatment of historic Holland House, by introducing solid materials.

The choice of terracotta for the facades allows the building to be constructed significantly more sustainably, as it is a recyclable material. In addition, the solidity of the façade will make it easier to regulate temperature, meaning less energy usage going towards heating and cooling systems.

This contrasts with recent developments in the City made predominantly of glass and steel, and makes direct reference to the more traditional architecture seen in the nearby area.

The façade also allowed the proposals to be more flexible with the colour of the building. After a period of experimentation with colour a light blue was chosen. This allows the building to match well with the wider townscape and even the sky itself, reducing its impact on views of the City.

The base of the building has been deliberately matched to the darker shades used in the nearby ‘Gherkin’ at 30 St Mary’s Axe, in addition to whilst complementing the style of Holland House. Additionally, The move from darker colours to lighter moving up the building references the more traditional architecture seen in the City.

The carefully thought out design of the proposals seeks to provides a link between more traditional architecture in the City of London and more modern predominantly glass developments, whilst reducing the impact of the building on the wider townscape.

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Servicing and amenities

31 Bury Street is a highly accessible location with excellent existing levels of public transport and pedestrian and cycle accessibility in the area.

Our proposals have been designed to provide additional spaces for workers who will cycle to work in the future and introduce new managed, covered public realm by extending Heneage Lane as a north to south pedestrian route from Bevis Marks to Bury Street.

We have also designed in space to encourage cyclists and runners, such as with ‘end of journey’ trip’ facilities and storage, including lockers and showers, and have made sure to provide ample cycle parking for visitors as well as for tenants.

Deliveries to the site will be managed and consolidated, via a dedicated delivery drop-off area and off-street loading bay accessible from Heneage Place which will be regulated through a Servicing Management Plan.

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Next Steps

Thank you for taking the time to provide your thoughts on our proposals.

All comments received will be shared with the project team for consideration to help finalise our planning application, which we hope to submit to the City of London Corporation in the coming weeks.

If you have any further questions, please email us at buryhouse@kandaconsulting.co.uk.

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